Massage Establishment Permit

Who Needs a Permit?

Any business or establishment that offers any combination of massage therapy and bath facilities including, but not limited to, showers, baths, wet and dry heat rooms, pools, and hot tubs are considered a massage establishment under the Fremont Municipal Code and needs to get a permit. See some examples of massage below. 

What is Considered Massage Therapy?

Massage is defined as the skillful application of touch, including, but not limited to, pressure, stroking, kneading, tapping, pounding, stimulating, compression on or movement of the external parts of the human body with the hands or other parts of the body or with the aid of any mechanical or electrical apparatus or other appliances or devices with or without the use of rubbing alcohol, liniment, antiseptic, oil, powder, cream, lotion, ointment or other similar preparations. 

Examples of Massage

Include but are not limited to:

  • Swedish massage
  • marma
  • shiatsu
  • sports massage
  • pregnancy massage
  • neuromuscular therapy
  • hydrotherapy
  • polarity therapy
  • reiki
  • rolfing
  • Heller work
  • reflexology

Permit Application & Submission

Please fill out the application and review the checklist and make sure you have all the information required before coming in. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

All applications must be submitted in person at the Revenue Division in the Development Services Center. 

Annual Fees

Fees are applicable to new and renewing Massage Establishment Permit Applications, to recover administrative costs:

New License Application$300
Annual License Renewal$150
Background Check (required at the time of the Application & Renewal)$113 
Location Change$300
Sale or Transfer of Ownership$50 plus $25 for each additional owner

Permit Validity and Renewal

  • Massage Establishment Permits are valid for one year from the month of issuance, are non-transferable, and must be renewed annually
  • Permit renewal applications must be submitted 60 days prior to the expiration date and are subject to the same evaluation criteria as the original application

Other Requirements

  • The Massage Establishment must also obtain and renew an annual City of Fremont business tax certificate
  • All massage therapists are required to obtain a California Massage Therapist License with the California Massage Therapy Council
  • All new Massage Establishment locations are required to have approval from the City's Planning and Zoning Department. You can check zoning requirements when you drop off your application

Certification by California Massage Therapy Council Required

It is unlawful for any individual to practice massage therapy for compensation within the City unless that individual is a certified massage therapist as defined in Fremont Municipal Code. A certified massage therapist working in the city must:

  • Work at a massage establishment permitted by the City
  • Indicate on the registration form that he or she does outcall massage services (if applicable)


Exemptions for which the ordinance does not apply include:

  • Physicians, surgeons, chiropractors, osteopaths, podiatrists, physical therapists, nurses, or any other person licensed to practice any healing art under the provisions of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code Division 2 when engaging in such practice within the scope of his or her license.
  • Trainers of any amateur, semiprofessional, or professional athlete or athletic team, so long as such persons do not practice massage therapy as their primary occupation at any location where they provide such services in the city.
  • Barbers, estheticians, and cosmetologists who are duly licensed under the laws of the state of California, while engaging in practices within the scope of their licenses.
  • Individuals in the city temporarily for disaster relief.
  • Individuals administering massages or health treatments involving massage to persons participating in road races, track meets, triathlons, educational events, conferences or similar single-occurrence athletic, recreational, or educational events.
  • Somatic therapists who use no physical touch of any kind and do not require disrobing at any time in their practice.
  • Enrolled students of a school of massage when they are performing massage within the city as part of a formal supervised internship or training program operated by the school, without compensation other than school credit, on the premises of a massage establishment duly authorized to operate pursuant to the terms of this chapter; and provided, that the operator of the massage establishment has first notified the finance director in writing of the name, residence address, and school of the students and the dates of the training.

Contact Us

  1. Email

     (510) 494-4790 

    Documentation & Fee Drop Off

    Development Services Center
    Revenue Division (Cashier Window)
    39550 Liberty Street
    Fremont, CA 94537


    Mondays & Wednesdays 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 
    (closed from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.)

    Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays